Sermon 572. Laus Deo
DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING, MAY 29, 1864, BY THE REV. C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"For of Him and through Him and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen."
MY text consists almost entirely of monosyllables, but it contains the loftiest of sublimities. Such a tremendous weight ofmeaning is concentrated here that an archangel's eloquence would fail to convey its teaching in all its glory to any finiteminds, even if seraphs were his hearers. I willaffirm that there is no man living who can preach from my text a sermon worthy of it. No, among all the sacred orators andthe eloquent pleaders for God, there never did live and never will live a man capable of reaching the height of the greatargument contained in these few simplewords. I utterly despair of success and will not, therefore, make an attempt to work out the infinite Glory of this sentence.
Our great God alone can expound this verse for He only knows Himself and He only can worthily set forth His own perfections.Yet I am comforted by this reflection that maybe, in answer to our prayers, God Himself may preach from this text this morningin our hearts. If not through the words of thespeaker, yet by that still small voice to which the Believer's ear is so well accustomed. If thus He shall condescend tofavor us, our hearts shall be lifted up in His ways.
There are two things before us, the one worthy of our observation and the second of our imitation. You have in the text, firstof all, doctrine and then devotion, The doctrine is high doctrine-"Of Him and through Him and to Him, are all things." Thedevotion is lofty devotion-"To whombe glory forever. Amen."
I. Let us consider THE DOCTRINE. It is laid down by the Apostle Paul as a general principle that all things come of God-theyare of Him as their source. They are through Him as their means. They are to Him as their end. They are of Him in the plan,through Him in the working and to Him in theGlory which they produce. Taking this general principle, you will find it applies to all things and it is ours to mark thosein which it is most manifestly the case. May the Lord, by His Holy Spirit, open His treasures to us at this moment that wemay be enriched in spiritualknowledge and understanding.
Meditate, dear Friends, upon the whole range of God's works in Creation and Providence. There was a period when God dweltalone and creatures were not. In that time before all time, when there was no day but, "The Ancient of Days"-when matter andcreated mind were alike unborn and even spacewas not-God, the great I Am, was as perfect, glorious and blessed as He is now. There was no sun and yet Jehovah dwelt inlight ineffable. There was no earth and yet His Throne stood fast and firm. There were no heavens and yet His Glory was unbounded.
God inhabited eternity in the infinite majesty and happiness of His self-contained greatness. If the Lord, thus abiding inawful solitude, should choose to create anything, the first thought and idea must come of Him, for there was no other to thinkor suggest. All things must be of Him in design.With whom can He take counsel? Who shall instruct Him? There existed not another to come into the council chamber, evenif such an assistance could be supposed with the Most High.
In the beginning of His way before His works of old, eternal Wisdom brought forth from its own mind the perfect plan of futurecreations and every line and mark therein must clearly have been of the Lord alone. He ordained the pathway of every planetand the abode of every fixed star. He pouredforth the sweet influences of the Pleiades and girt Orion with His hands. He appointed the bounds of the sea and settledthe course of the winds. As to the earth, the Lord alone planned its foundations and stretched His line upon it. He formedin His own mind the mold of all Hiscreatures and found for them a dwelling and a service.
He appointed the degree of strength with which He would endow each creature, settled its months of life, its hour of death,its coming and its going. Divine Wisdom mapped this earth-its flowing rivers and foaming seas-the towering mountains and thelaughing valleys. The Divine Architectfixed the gates of the morning and the doors of the shadow of death. Nothing could have been suggested by any other, forthere was no other to suggest. It was in His power to have made a universe very different from this if He had so pleased.And that He has made it what it is musthave been merely because, in His Wisdom and prudence, He saw fit to do so.
There cannot be any reason why He should not have created a world from which sin should have been forever excluded. And thatHe suffered sin to enter into His creation must again be ascribed to His own infinite Sovereignty. Had He not known that Hewould be master over sin and out of evil evolvethe noblest display of His own Glory, He had not permitted it to enter into the world-but, in sketching the whole historyof the universe which He was about to create, He permitted even that black spot to defile His work-because He foreknew whatsongs of everlastingtriumph would rise to Himself when, in streams of His own blood, Incarnate Deity should wash out the stain. It cannot bedoubted that whatever may be the whole drama of history in Creation and Providence, there is a high and mysterious sense inwhich it is all of God.
The sin is not God's, but the temporary permission of its existence formed part of the foreknown scheme and to our faith theintervention of moral evil and the purity of the Divine Character do neither of them diminish the force of our belief thatthe whole scope of history is of God in the fullestsense. When the plan was all laid down and the Almighty had ordered His purpose, this was not enough-mere arrangement wouldnot create. "Through Him," as well as "of Him," must all things be. There was no raw material ready to the Creator's hand.He must create the universeout of nothing. He calls not for aid-He needs it not and besides, there is none to help Him. There is no rough matter whichHe may fashion between His palms and launch forth as stars.
He did not need a mine of unquarried matter which He might melt and purify in the furnace of His power and then hammer outupon the anvil of His skill-no, there was nothing to begin with in that day of Jehovah's work-from the womb of Omnipotenceall things must be born. He speaks andthe heavens leap into existence! He speaks again and worlds are begotten with all the varied forms of life so fraught withDivine Wisdom and matchless skill. "Let there be light and there was light," was not the only time when God had spoken andwhen things that were not, were, foraforetime had He spoken and this rolling earth and yon blue heavens had blossomed out of nothingness.
Through Him were all things-from the high archangel who sings His praises in celestial notes-down to the cricket chirpingon the hearth. The same finger paints the rainbow and the wing of the butterfly. He who dyes the garments of evening in allthe colors of Heaven has covered thekingcup with gold and lit up the glowworm's lamp. From yonder ponderous mountain piercing the clouds down to that minutegrain of dust in the summer's threshing floor-all things are through Him. Let but God withdraw the emanations of His Divinepower and everything would meltaway as the foam upon the sea melts into the wave which bore it!
Nothing could stand an instant if the Divine foundation were removed. If He should shake the pillars of the world the wholetemple of Creation falls to ruin and its very dust is blown away. A dreary waste, a silent emptiness, a voiceless wildernessis all which remains if God withdraws His power.No, even so much as this were not if His power should be withheld. That nature that is as it is, is through the energy ofthe present God. If the sun rises every morning and the moon walks in her brightness at night, it is through Him. Away withthose men who think that God haswound up the world as though it were a clock and has gone away-leaving it to work for itself apart from His present hand!
God is present everywhere-not merely present when we tremble because His thunder shakes the solid earth and sets the heavensin a blaze with lightning-but just as much so in the calm summer's eve when the air so gently fans the flowers and gnats danceup and down in the last gleams ofsunlight. Men try to forget the Divine Presence by calling its energy by strange names. They speak of the power of gravitation.But what is the power of gravitation? We know what it does, but what is it? Gravitation is God's own power!
They tell us of mysterious laws of electricity and I know not what. We know the laws, and let them wear the names they have.But laws cannot operate without power. What is the force of nature? It is a constant emanation from the great Fountain ofpower, the constant out-flowing of GodHimself-the perpetual going forth of beams of light from Him who is "the great Father of Lights, with whom is no variableness,neither shadow." Tread softly, be reverent, for God is here, O Mortal, as truly as He is in Heaven! Wherever you are and whateveryou look upon, youare in God's workshop where every wheel is turned by His hands. Everything is not God, but God is in everything and nothingworks, or even exists, except by His present power and might. "Of Him and through Him are all things."
Beloved, the great glory of all is that in the work of Creation everything is to Him. Everything will praise the Lord-He sodesigned it. God must have the highest motive and there can be no higher motive conceivable than His own Glory. When therewas no creature but Himself and no being butHimself, God could not have taken as a motive a creature which did not exist. His motive must be Himself. His own Gloryis His highest aim. The good of His creatures He considers carefully. But even the good of His creatures is but a means tothe main end-the promotion of HisGlory. All things, then, are for His pleasure and for His Glory they daily work.
Tell me that the world is marred by sin and I lament it. Tell me that the slime of the serpent is upon everything beautifulhere and I sorrow for it. But yet, even yet shall everything speak of the Glory of God. To Him are all things and the dayshall come when with eyes spiritually illuminated youand I shall see that even the introduction of the Fall and the curse did not, after all, mar the splendor of the majestyof the Most High. To Him shall all things be. His enemies shall bow their necks unwillingly but abjectly, while His people,redeemed from death and Hell, shallcheerfully extol Him.
The new heavens and the new earth shall ring with His praise and we who shall sit down to read the record of His creatingwonders, shall say of them all, "In His temple does everyone speak of His Glory and even until now to Him have all thingsbeen." Courage then, Beloved! When you think thatmatters go against the cause of God, throw yourselves back upon this as a soft couch. When the enemy hisses in your earsthis note-"God is overcome! His plans are spoiled. His Gospel is thrust back. The honor of His Son is stained," tell the enemy,"No, it is not so! To Himare all things."
God's defeats are victories. God's weakness is stronger than man and even the foolishness of the Most High is wiser than man'swisdom and at the last we shall see most clearly that it is so. Hallelujah! We shall see, dear Friends, one day in the clearlight of Heaven, that every page in humanhistory, however stained by human sin, has nevertheless something of God's Glory in it. And that the calamities of nations,the falling of dynasties, the devastations of pestilence, plagues, famines, wars and earthquakes have all worked out the eternalpurpose and glorified the MostHigh!
From the first human prayer to the last mortal sigh! From the first note of finite praise onward to the everlasting hallelujahall things have worked together for the Glory of God and have served His purposes. All things are of Him and through Him andto Him. This great principle is most manifestin the grand work of Divine Grace. Here everything is of God and through God and to God. The great plan of salvation wasnot drawn by human fingers. It is no concoction of priests, no elaboration of Divines. Grace first moved the heart of Godand joined with Divine Sovereignty toordain a plan of salvation.
This plan was the offspring of a Wisdom no less than Divine. None but God could have imagined a way of salvation such as thatwhich the Gospel presents-a way so just to God-so safe to man. The thought of Divine Substitution and the Sacrifice of Godon man's behalf could never havesuggested itself to the most educated of all God's creatures. God Himself suggests it and the plan is "of Him." And as thegreat plan is of Him, so the fillings up of the details are of Him. God ordained the time when the first promise should bepromulgated-who should receivethat promise and who should deliver it. He ordained the hour when the great Promise-Keeper should come-when Jesus Christshould appear-of whom He should be born, by whom He should be betrayed, what death He should die, when He should rise andin what manner He shouldascend.
What if I say more? He ordained those who should accept the Mediator, to whom the Gospel should be preached and who shouldbe the favored individuals in whom effectual calling should make that preaching mighty for salvation! He settled in His ownmind the name of every one of His chosen and thetime when each elect vessel should be put upon the wheel to be fashioned according to His will. He ordained pangs of convictionshould be felt when the time of faith should come! How much of holy light and enjoyment should be bestowed-all this was purposedfrom of old! Hesettled how long the chosen vessel should be glazing in the fire and when it should be taken up-made perfect by heavenlyworkmanship to adorn the palace of God Most High. Of the Lord's Wisdom every stitch in the noble tapestry of salvation mostsurely comes.
Nor must we stop here-through Him all these things come. Through His Spirit the promise came at last, for He moved the seersand holy men of old. Through Him the Son of God is born of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. Through Him, sustainedby that Spirit, the Son of God leadsHis thirty years of perfection. In the great redemption God alone is exalted. Jesus sweats in Gethsemane and bleeds on Calvary.None stood with our Savior there. He trod that winepress alone. His own arm worked salvation and His own arm upheld Him. Redemptionwork was through Godalone! Not one soul was ever redeemed by human suffering! No spirit was emancipated by mortal penance. All is through Him.
And as through Him the Atonement, so through Him the application of the Atonement. By the power of the Spirit the Gospel isdaily preached. Upheld by the Holy Spirit, pastors, teachers and elders still abide with the Church-still the energy of theSpirit goes forth with the Word to the heartsof the chosen. Still is "Christ crucified," the power of God and the wisdom of God because God is in the Word and throughHim men are called, converted, saved. O my Brethren, beyond a doubt we must confess of this great plan of salvation that itis all to Him! We have not a note ofpraise to spare for another!
Silenced forever with everlasting confusion is the man who would retain a solitary word of praise for man or angel in thework of Grace. You fools! Who can be praised but God, for who but God determined to give His Son Jesus? You knaves! Will yourob Christ of His Glory? Will you steal the jewelsout of His crown when He so dearly bought them with drops of His precious blood? O you who love darkness rather than light,will you glorify man's will above the energy of the Holy Spirit and sacrifice to your own dignity and freedom? God forgiveyou!
But as for His saints, they will always sing, "To God, to God alone be all the Glory! From the first to the last let Him whois the Alpha and the Omega have all the praise! Let His name be extolled, world without end." When the great plan of Graceshall be all developed and you and I shall standupon the hilltops of Glory, what a wondrous scene will open up before us! We shall see more clearly then, than now, howall things sprang from the fountainhead of God's love. How they all flowed through the channel of the Savior's mediation andhow they all worked together to theGlory of the same God from whom they came. The great plan of Grace, then, bears out this principle.
The word holds good, dear Friends, in the case of every individual Believer. Let this be a matter for personal enquiry. Whyam I saved? Because of any goodness in me, or any superiority in my constitution? Of whom comes my salvation? My spirit cannothesitate a single moment. How could a new heartcome out of the old one? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one! How can the spirit come out of the flesh?That which is born of the flesh is flesh. If it is spirit it must be born of the Spirit. My Soul, you must be quite clearabout this, that if there is in youany faith, hope, or spiritual life, it must have come of God!
Can any Christian here who possesses vital godliness differ from this statement? I am persuaded he cannot. And if any manshould arrogate any honor to his own natural constitution, I must, with all charity, doubt whether he knows anything at allabout the matter. But, my Soul, as your salvationmust have come out of God-as He must have thought of it and planned it for you, and then bestowed it upon you-did it notalso come to you through God? It came through faith, but where did that faith take its birth? Was it not of the operationof the Holy Spirit? And whatdid you believe in? Did you believe in your own strength, or in your own good resolution? No, but in Jesus, your Lord. Wasnot the first ray of light you ever had received in this way?
Did you not look entirely away from self to the Savior? And the Light which you now have, does it not always come to you inthe same way, by having done once and for all with the creature, with the flesh, with human merit-and resting with childlikeconfidence upon the finished work andrighteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ? Is not, dear Hearer, is not your salvation, if you are, indeed, saved, entirely"through" your God, as well as "of" your God? Who is it that enables you to pray every day? Who keeps you from temptation?By what Grace are you led onward inspiritual duty? Who upholds you when your foot would trip? Are you not conscious that there is a power other than your own?
For my part, Brethren, I am not taken to Heaven against my will, I know, but still so desperate is my nature and so proneto evil that I feel myself floated onward against the current of my nature. It seems as if all we could do were to kick andrebel against Sovereign Grace, while Sovereign Gracesays, "I will save you. I will have you, whatever you may do. I will overcome your raging corruption. I will quicken youout of your lethargy and take you to Heaven in a fiery chariot of afflictions, if not by any other means. I will whip youto Paradise sooner than let you belost."
Is not this your experience? Have you not found that if once the strong hand of God were taken from your soul, instead ofgoing onward to Heaven you would go back again to Perdition? It is through God you are saved! And what do you say, Believer,to the last point? Is it not "to Him"? Will you takeone single jewel out of His crown? Oh, there is not one of you who would wish to extol himself! There is no song we singmore sweetly in this House of Prayer than the song of Grace and there is no hymn which seems more in keeping with our ownexperience than this-
"Grace all the work shall crown, Through everlasting days. It lays in Hea ven the topmost stone, And well deserves the praise."
Let who will extol the dignity of the creature. Let who may boast in the power of free will-we cannot do it! We have foundour nature to be a very depraved one and our will to be under bondage. We must, if other creatures do not, extol that unchangeableOmnipotent Grace which has made us whatwe are and will continue to keep us so till it brings us to the right hand of God in everlasting Glory! In each individual,then, this rule holds good.
Once more, in every work which the Christian is enabled to do, he should bear in mind the rule of the text. Some of you areprivileged to work in the Sunday school and you have had many conversions in your class. Others of you are distributing tracts,going from house to house and trying to bringsouls to Christ, not without success, by God's Grace. Some of us, too, have the honor of being sent to preach the Gospelin every place and we have sheaves of our harvest too many for our barns to hold. In the case of some of us, we seem to havereceived the promised blessing to itsfullest extent. The Lord has spiritually made our children like the sand of the sea and the spiritual offspring of our heartlike the gravel.
In all this it behooves us to remember that, "of Him and through Him and to Him," are all things. "Of Him." Who makes youto differ? What have you which you have not received? The burning heart, the tearful eye, the prayerful soul-all these qualificationsfor usefulness come of Him. Thefluent mouth, the pleading tongue-these must have been educated and given by Him. From Him all the many gifts of the Spiritby which the Church is edified-from Him, I say, they all proceed. What is Paul? Who is Apollos, or Cephas-who are all thesebut themessengers of God in whom the Spirit works, dividing to every man according as He wills?
When the preacher has achieved his usefulness, he knows that all his success comes through God. If a man shall suppose himselfcapable of stirring up a revival, or encouraging even one saint, or leading one sinner to repentance, he is a fool! As wellmight we attempt to move the stars, or shake theworld, or grasp the lightning flash in the hollow of our hand as think to save a soul, or even to quicken saints out oftheir lethargy! Spiritual work must be done by the Spirit. Through God every good thing comes to us. The preacher may be avery Samson when God is withhim-he shall be like Samson when God is not with him only in Samson's degradation and shame!
Beloved, there never was a man brought to God except through God and there never will be! Our nation shall never be stirredup again into the celestial heat of piety except by the Presence of the Holy Spirit anew. Would God we had more of the abidingsense of the Spirit's work among us! That welooked more to Him! That we rested less in machinery and men and more upon that Divine but Invisible Agent who works allgood things in the hearts of men! Beloved, it is through GOD that every good thing comes. And I am sure it is to Him. We cannottake the honor of a singleconvert. We do look with thankfulness upon this growing Church, but we can give the Glory alone to Him! Give glory to thecreature and it is all over with it! Honor yourselves as a Church and God will soon dishonor you!
Let us lay every sheaf upon His altar, bring every lamb of the fold to the feet of the Good Shepherd feeling that it is His.When we go abroad to fish for souls, let us think that we only fill the net because He taught us how to throw it on the rightside of the Church. And when we take them theyare His, not ours. Oh, what poor little things we are and yet we think we do so much! The pen might say, "I wrote Milton'sParadise Lost." Ah, poor Pen! You could not have made a dot to an "i," or a cross to a "t," if Milton's hand had not movedyou! The preacher could do nothing ifGod had not helped him. The axe might cry, "I have felled forests! I have made the cedar bow its head and laid the stalwartoak in the dust." No, you did not-for if it had not been for the arm which wielded you, even a bramble would have been toomuch for you to cut down!
Shall the sword say, "I won the victory! I shed the blood of the mighty! I caused the shield to be cast away?" No, it wasthe warrior, who with his courage and might made you of service in the battle, and apart from this you are less than nothing.In all that God does by us let us continue to giveHim the praise-so shall He continue His Presence with our efforts. Otherwise He will take from us His smile and so we shallbe left as weak men. I have, perhaps, at too great length for your patience, tried to bring out this very simple but veryuseful principle. And now,before I go to the second part, I wish to apply it by this very practical remark.
Beloved, if this is true, that all things are through Him and to Him, do you not think that those doctrines are most likelyto be correct and most worthy to be held which are most in keeping with this Truth of God? Now, there are certain doctrinescommonly called Calvinistic (but which ought neverto have been called by such a name, for they are simply Christian doctrines), which I think commend themselves to the mindsof all thoughtful persons. For this reason, mainly, that they do ascribe to God everything.
Here is the doctrine of election, for instance. Why is a man saved? Is it the result of his own will or God's will? Did hechoose God, or did God choose him? The answer, "Man chose God," is manifestly untrue because it glorifies man. God's answerto it is, "You have not chosen Me, but I have chosenyou." God has predestinated His people to salvation from before the foundation of the world. Ascribing the will, which isthe hinge of the whole matter, and turns the balance-ascribing that to God-we feel we are speaking in keeping with the doctrineof our text.
Then take effectual calling. By what power is a man called? There are some who say that it is by the energy of his own will,or at least that while God gives him Grace, it depends upon him to make use of it. Some do not make use of the Grace and perish.Others make use of the Grace and aresaved-saved by their own consenting to allow Grace to be effectual. We, on the other hand, say no-a man is not saved againsthis will-but he is made willing by the operation of the Holy Spirit. A mighty Grace which he does not wish to resist entersinto the man,disarms him, makes a new creature of him and he is saved. We believe that the calling which saves the soul is a callingwhich owes nothing at all to man, but which comes from God. The creature being, then, passive, while God, like the potter,molds the man like a lump of clay.Clearly the calling, we think, must be through God-for so it coincides with this principle, "of Him and through Him andto Him are all things."
Then next, the question of particular redemption. Some insist upon it that men are redeemed not because Christ died, but becausethey are willing to give efficacy to the blood of Christ. He died for everybody according to their theory. Why, then, arenot all men saved? Because all men will notbelieve? That is to say that believing is necessary in order to make the blood of Christ efficacious for redemption! Nowwe hold that to be a great lie! We believe the very contrary- namely, that the blood of Christ has in itself the power toredeem and that it does redeem andthat faith does not give efficacy to the blood but is only the proof that the blood has redeemed that man. Hence we holdthat Christ did not redeem every man, but only redeemed those men who will ultimately attain unto eternal life.
We do not believe that He redeemed the damned! We do not believe that He poured out His life blood for souls already in Hell!We never can imagine that Christ suffered in the place of all men and that then, afterwards, these same men have to sufferfor themselves-that in fact Christ paystheir debts-and then God makes them pay their debts over again! We think that the doctrine that men, by their wills, giveefficacy to the blood of Christ is derogatory to the Lord Jesus and we rather hold to this that He laid down His life forHis sheep and that His layingdown His life for His sheep involved and secured the salvation of every one of them. We believe this because we hold that,"of Him and through Him and to Him are all things."
So, again, take the total depravity of the race and its original corruption-a doctrine much abhorred of those who lift uppoor human nature-but is, nevertheless, true. We hold that man must be entirely lost and ruined, because if there is somegood thing in him, then it cannot be saidthat, "of God and through God and to God, are all things," for at least some things must be of man. If there are some relicsof virtue and some remnants of power left in the race of man, then some things are of man and to man will some things be.But if of God are all things, thenin man there must be nothing-man must be set down as ruined-hopelessly ruined-
"Bruised and mangled by the Fall," and his salvation must be described as being from the first to the last, in every jot andevery tittle of that almighty Grace of God, which at first chose him, at length redeemed him, ultimately called him, constantlypreserved him and perfectly shall present himbefore the Father's Throne.
I put these doctrines before you, more especially today, because last Friday many Believers both in Geneva and London mettogether to celebrate the centenary of the death of that mighty servant of God, John Calvin. I honor Calvin, not as teachingthese doctrines himself, but as one through whom Godspoke and one who, next to the Apostle Paul, propounded the Truth of God more clearly than any other man that ever breathed.He knew more of Scripture and explained it more clearly than most. Luther may have as much courage, but Luther knows littleof theology. Luther, like a bull,when he sees one Truth, shuts his eyes and dashes against the enemy, breaking down gates, bolts and bars, to clear awayfor the Word!
But Calvin, following in the opened pathway with clear eyes, searching Scripture, ever acknowledging that of God and throughGod and to God are all things, maps out the whole plan with a delightful clearness which could only have come of the Spiritof God. That man of God expounds the doctrines inso excellent and admirable a manner that we cannot too much bless the Lord who sent him, or too much pray that others likehim may be honest and sincere in the work of the Lord. Thus much then, of doctrine, but one or two minutes by way of devotion.
II. The Apostle puts his pen back into the ink bottle, falls on his knees-he cannot help it-he must have a doxol-ogy. "Towhom be glory forever. Amen." Beloved, let us imitate this DEVOTION. I think that this sentence should be the prayer, themotto for every one of us-"To Him beglory forever. Amen." I will be but very brief, for I would not weary you. "To Him be glory forever." This should be thesingle desire of the Christian. I take it that he should not have twenty wishes, but only one. He may desire to see his familywell brought up, but only that, "ToGod may be glory forever."
He may wish for prosperity in his business, but only so far as it may help him to promote this-"To Him be glory forever."He may desire to attain more gifts and more graces, but it should only be that, "To Him may be glory forever." This one thingI know, Christian-you are not acting asyou ought to do when you are moved by any other motive than the one motive of your Lord's Glory. As a Christian you are"of God and through God." I pray you be "to God." Let nothing ever set your heart beating but love to Him. Let this ambitionfire your soul! Be this the foundationof every enterprise upon which you enter, and this your sustaining motive whenever your zeal would grow chill-only, onlymake God your object! Depend upon it, where self begins, sorrow begins. But if God is my supreme delight and only object-
"To me 'tis equal whether love ordain My life or death appoint me ease or pain."
To me there shall be no choice, when my eyes singly look to God's Glory, whether I shall be torn in pieces by wild beastsor live in comfort-whether I shall be full of despondency or full of hope. If God is glorified in my mortal body, my soulshall rest content. Again, let it be our constantdesire, "To Him be glory." When I wake up in the morning, O, let my soul salute her God with gratitude-
"Wake and lift up yourself, my Heart, And with the angels bear your part, Who all night long unwearied sing High praises tothe eternal King." At my work behind the counter, or in the Exchange, let me be looking out to see how I may glorify Him.If I am walking in the fields, let my desire be thatthe trees may clap their hands in His praise. May the sun in his march shine out the Master's Glory and the stars at nightreflect His praise.
It is yours, Brethren, to put a tongue into the mouth of this dumb world and make the silent beauties of creation praise theirGod. Never be silent when there are opportunities and you shall never be silent for want of opportunities. At night fall asleeppraising your God! As you close your eyeslet your last thought be, "How sweet to rest upon the Savior's bosom!" In afflictions praise Him-out of the fires let yoursong go up! On the sick-bed extol Him! Dying, let Him have your sweetest notes. Let your shouts of victory in the combat withthe last great enemy be allfor Him. And then, when you have burst the bondage of mortality and come into the freedom of immortal spirits-then, in anobler, sweeter song-you shall sing unto His praise!
Be this, then, your constant thought-"To Him be glory forever." Let this be your earnest thought. Do not speak of God's Glorywith cold words, nor think of it with a chilly heart, but feel, "I must praise Him. If I cannot praise Him where I am, I willbreak through these narrow bonds, and getwhere I can." Sometimes you will feel that you long to be disembodied-that you may praise Him as the immortal spirits do.I must praise Him! Bought by His precious blood, called by His Spirit I cannot hold my tongue! My Soul, can you be dumb anddead? I must praise Him! Standback, O Flesh! Away, you Fiends! Away, you Troubles! I must sing, for should I refuse to sing, surely the very stones wouldspeak!
I hope, dear Friends, while thus earnest, your praise will also be growing. Let there be growing desire to praise Him of whomand through whom are all things. You blessed Him in your youth, do not be content with such praises as you gave Him then.Has God prospered you in business? Give Him more asHe has given you more. Has God given you experience? O, praise Him by better faith than you exercised at first. Does yourknowledge grow? Oh, then you can sing more sweetly! Do you have happier times than you once had? Have you been restored fromsickness and has your sorrow beenturned into peace and joy? Then give Him more music! Put more coals in your censer, more sweet frankincense, more of thesweet cane bought with money. Oh, to serve Him every day, lifting up my heart from Sunday to Sunday, till I reach the ever-endingSunday! Reaching fromsanctification to sanctification, from love to love, from strength to strength, till I appear before my God!
In closing, let me urge you to make this desire practical. If you really glorify God, take care to do it not with lip-servicewhich dies away in the wind, but with solid homage of daily life. Praise Him by your patience in pain, by your perseverancein duty, by your generosity in His cause, by yourboldness in testimony, by your consecration to His work. Praise Him, my dear Friends, not only this morning in what youdo for Him in your offerings, but praise Him every day by doing something for God in all sorts of ways, according to the mannerin which He has been pleased tobless you. I wish I could have spoken worthily on such a topic as this, but a dull, heavy headache sits upon me and I feelthat a thick gloom overshadows my words, out of which I look with longing, but cannot rise.
For this I may well grieve, but nevertheless God the Holy Spirit can work the better through our weakness and if you willtry and preach the sermon to yourselves, my Brethren, you will do it vastly better than I can. If you will meditate upon thistext this afternoon, "Of Him and through Him and toHim, are all things," I am sure you will be led to fall on your knees with the Apostle and say, "To Him be glory forever,"and then you will rise up and practically, in your life, give Him honor, putting the "Amen" to this doxology by your own individualservice of your great andgracious Lord. May He give a blessing now and accept your thank offering through Christ Jesus. Amen.